What does character mean?

Definitions for character
ˈkær ɪk tərchar·ac·ter

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word character.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. fictional character, fictitious character, characternoun

    an imaginary person represented in a work of fiction (play or film or story)

    "she is the main character in the novel"

  2. quality, character, lineamentnoun

    a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something

    "each town has a quality all its own"; "the radical character of our demands"

  3. character, fiber, fibrenoun

    the inherent complex of attributes that determines a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions

    "education has for its object the formation of character"- Herbert Spencer

  4. character, role, theatrical role, part, personanoun

    an actor's portrayal of someone in a play

    "she played the part of Desdemona"

  5. character, eccentric, type, casenoun

    a person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities)

    "a real character"; "a strange character"; "a friendly eccentric"; "the capable type"; "a mental case"

  6. characternoun

    good repute

    "he is a man of character"

  7. character, reference, character referencenoun

    a formal recommendation by a former employer to a potential future employer describing the person's qualifications and dependability

    "requests for character references are all too often answered evasively"

  8. character, grapheme, graphic symbolnoun

    a written symbol that is used to represent speech

    "the Greek alphabet has 24 characters"

  9. characterverb

    (genetics) an attribute (structural or functional) that is determined by a gene or group of genes

  10. characterverb

    engrave or inscribe characters on


  1. characternoun

    A being involved in the action of a story.

  2. characternoun

    A written or printed symbol, or letter

  3. characternoun

    A distinguishing feature; characteristic; A complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person or a group.

    A study of the suspect's character and his cast iron alibi ruled him out.

  4. characternoun

    A moral strength.

    "You may not like to eat liver," said Calvin's father, "but it builds character."

  5. characternoun

    A person with many notable or eccentric features.

  6. characternoun

    A complex number representing an element of a finite Abelian group.

  7. characternoun

    One of the basic elements making up a text file or string: a code representing a printing character or a control character.

  8. characternoun

    A person or individual, especially one who is unknown or raises suspicions.

    We saw a shady character slinking out of the office with some papers.

  9. characterverb

    To write (using characters); To describe

  10. Etymology: From caracter, from caractere, from character, from χαρακτήρ, from χαράσσω.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CHARACTERnoun

    Etymology: character, Lat. χαϱαϰτὴϱ.

    In outward also her resembling less
    His image, who made both; and less expressing
    The character of that dominion giv’n
    O’er other creatures. Paradise Lost, b. viii. l. 542.

    But his neat cookery! ————
    He cut our roots in characters. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    The purpose is perspicuous even as substance,
    Whose grossness little characters sum up. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.

    It were much to be wished, that there were throughout the world but one sort of character for each letter, to express it to the eye; and that exactly proportioned to the natural alphabet formed in the mouth. William Holder, Elements of Speech.

    I found the letter thrown in at the casement of my closet. ——
    You know the character to be your brother’s. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Each drew fair characters, yet none
    Of these they feign’d, excels their own. John Denham.

    This subterraneous passage is much mended, since Seneca gave so bad a character of it. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    In a tragedy, or epick poem, the hero of the piece must be advanced foremost to the view of the reader or spectator; he must outshine the rest of all the characters; he must appear the prince of them, like the sun in the Copernican system, encompassed with the less noble planets. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    has excelled all the heroick poets that ever wrote, in the multitude and variety of his characters; every god that is admitted into his poem, acts a part which would have been suitable to no other deity. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 273.

    Nothing so true as what you once let fall,
    Most women have no characters at all. Alexander Pope.

    The chief honour of the magistrate consists in maintaining the dignity of his character by suitable actions. Francis Atterbury.

  2. To Characterverb

    To inscribe; to engrave.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    These few precepts in thy memory
    See thou character. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    Shew me one scar character’d on thy skin. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
    And in their barks my thoughts I’ll character. William Shakespeare, As you like it.


  1. character

    A character can be defined as a fictional or non-fictional entity within a narrative (such as a story, movie, play, or game) that serves as a focal point or participant in the events occurring. Characters can possess traits, qualities, and attributes that shape their behavior, motivations, and relationships with other characters. They often play specific roles, contribute to the plot, and undergo development or change throughout the narrative. Characters can be human, animals, objects, or even symbolic representations.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Characternoun

    a distinctive mark; a letter, figure, or symbol

  2. Characternoun

    style of writing or printing; handwriting; the peculiar form of letters used by a particular person or people; as, an inscription in the Runic character

  3. Characternoun

    the peculiar quality, or the sum of qualities, by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others; the stamp impressed by nature, education, or habit; that which a person or thing really is; nature; disposition

  4. Characternoun

    strength of mind; resolution; independence; individuality; as, he has a great deal of character

  5. Characternoun

    moral quality; the principles and motives that control the life; as, a man of character; his character saves him from suspicion

  6. Characternoun

    quality, position, rank, or capacity; quality or conduct with respect to a certain office or duty; as, in the miserable character of a slave; in his character as a magistrate; her character as a daughter

  7. Characternoun

    the estimate, individual or general, put upon a person or thing; reputation; as, a man's character for truth and veracity; to give one a bad character

  8. Characternoun

    a written statement as to behavior, competency, etc., given to a servant

  9. Characternoun

    a unique or extraordinary individuality; a person characterized by peculiar or notable traits; a person who illustrates certain phases of character; as, Randolph was a character; Caesar is a great historical character

  10. Characternoun

    one of the persons of a drama or novel

  11. Characterverb

    to engrave; to inscribe

  12. Characterverb

    to distinguish by particular marks or traits; to describe; to characterize

  13. Etymology: [L., an instrument for marking, character, Gr. , fr. to make sharp, to cut into furrows, to engrave: cf. F. caractre.]


  1. Character

    A character is a person in a narrative work of arts. Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person." In literature, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder themes. Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practised by actors or writers, has been called characterisation. A character who stands as a representative of a particular class or group of people is known as a type. Types include both stock characters and those that are more fully individualised. The characters in Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and August Strindberg's Miss Julie, for example, are representative of specific positions in the social relations of class and gender, such that the conflicts between the characters reveal ideological conflicts.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Character

    kar′ak-tėr, n. a letter, sign, figure, stamp, or distinctive mark: a mark of any kind, a symbol in writing, &c.: writing generally, handwriting: a secret cipher: any essential feature or peculiarity: nature: (obs.) personal appearance: the aggregate of peculiar qualities which constitutes personal or national individuality: moral qualities especially, the reputation of possessing such: a formal statement of the qualities of a person who has been in one's service or employment: official position, rank, or status, or a person who has filled such: a person noted for eccentricity: a personality as created in a play or novel (Shak. Char′act).—v.t. to engrave, imprint, write: to represent, delineate, or describe.—n. Characterisā′tion.—v.t. Char′acterise, to describe by peculiar qualities: to distinguish or designate.—ns. Char′acterism; Characteris′tic, that which marks or constitutes the character.—adjs. Characteris′tic, -al, marking or constituting the peculiar nature.—adv. Characteris′tically.—adj. Char′acterless, without character or distinctive qualities.—ns. Char′acterlessness; Char′actery, writing: impression: that which is charactered.—In character, in harmony with the part assumed, appropriate, as a Character actor, one who tries to represent eccentricities. [Fr. caractère—L. character—Gr. charaktēr, from charass-ein, to cut, engrave.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Character

    In current usage, approximately equivalent to personality. The sum of the relatively fixed personality traits and habitual modes of response of an individual.

Editors Contribution

  1. character

    A type of symbol or letter.

    The character on the screen was part of the keyboard language.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 31, 2020  

  2. character

    The qualities that define a human being.

    She was a focused and fun character.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 12, 2020  


  1. Character

    a quality of form, color or structure.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Character is ranked #62531 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Character surname appeared 320 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Character.

    76.2% or 244 total occurrences were Black.
    22.5% or 72 total occurrences were White.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'character' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1176

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'character' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1567

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'character' in Nouns Frequency: #353

How to pronounce character?

How to say character in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of character in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of character in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of character in a Sentence

  1. Kitara Johnson:

    We have never called (whether she should lead) into question in terms of race, martin Luther King said we don't want to be judged by the color of our skin, (but) ... on the content of our character.

  2. Aleksander Smolar:

    (Kaczynski's goal) is not about eradicating democracy, but about significantly changing its character in a non-liberal direction.

  3. Eddie Murphy:

    He( Rudy Ray Moore) is just a great inspirational character. He believes in himself, that's what his biggest thing is, as crude as his movies were, he made them out of his pocket, and he had to do everything himself and come in from the back door.

  4. Lynn Vavreck:

    People have created this character out of college-educated women, because they seem to be the leading indicator of this decline for the Republican Party, but the story is about white college-educated people and white women.

  5. Charles Raison:

    Most people would just kill themselves, it's very, very rare for depression to cause people to kill other people. This leads me to believe there's something else going on, like a personality character flaw.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for character

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • حرف, رمز, شخصية, خلقArabic
  • действащо лице, знак, символ, отличителна черта, характер, геройBulgarian
  • personatge, caràcterCatalan, Valencian
  • znak, postavaCzech
  • træk, fasthed, rolle, karakter, tegn, figur, personlighed, viljestyrke, person, naturDanish
  • Figur, Character, Person, Original, Zeichen, Charakter, BuchstabeGerman
  • χαρακτήρας, γράμμαGreek
  • rolulo, karakteroEsperanto
  • carácter, personajeSpanish
  • tegelane, karakterEstonian
  • منش, نویسه, کاراکتر, حرف, پرسوناژ, شخصیت, سیرتPersian
  • henkilö, kirjoitusmerkki, tyyppi, luonne, persoona, merkki, kirjain, hahmoFinnish
  • caractère, personnageFrench
  • pearsa, carachtarIrish
  • nàdar, caractar, litirScottish Gaelic
  • carácter, personaxeGalician
  • אופי, תו, דמות, מאפיין, אישיות, אות, תכונהHebrew
  • चरित्रHindi
  • karakter, szereplő, betűHungarian
  • գործող անձ, տիպ, բնավորություն, նշան, բնութագիրArmenian
  • KarakterIndonesian
  • persónaIcelandic
  • carattere, caratteristica, personaggioItalian
  • 記号, 登場人物, キャラクター, 文字, 特質Japanese
  • 문자, 등장인물, 캐릭터Korean
  • باته‌کKurdish
  • characterLatin
  • CharakterLuxembourgish, Letzeburgesch
  • tēlsLatvian
  • കഥാപാത്രംMalayalam
  • aksara, watakMalay
  • karakter, personage, persoonlijkheidDutch
  • karakter, tegnNorwegian
  • charakter, postać, znakPolish
  • carácter, personagem, caráter, fortaleza moral, figura, caracterePortuguese
  • personajRomanian
  • символ, фигура, характер, личность, герой, персонаж, знак, героиня, отличителная черта, тип, буква, иероглиф, действующее лицоRussian
  • karakter, lik, karakteristika, osobinaSerbo-Croatian
  • rollfigur, karaktär, teckenSwedish
  • sifaSwahili
  • எழுத்துருTamil
  • ตัวละครThai
  • özellik, ahlak, harf, kişilik, karakter, simge, sembol, hususiyet, orijinal kimseTurkish
  • 字符Chinese

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"character." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/character>.

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1 Comment
  • Marilyn Conway
    Marilyn Conway
    What is your definition of a home having "character"?
    LikeReply9 years ago

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a natural talent
A concoction
B ignominy
C hodgepodge
D flair

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